Friday, December 30, 2011

Saturday Stumbles

I hope you all had a wonderful Christmas and are looking forward to a great New Year! 

Christmas Card booklet
Finally something to do with all those cute Christmas cards!

Make your own garland
Reuse those old Christmas gift bags to make a festive garland.

New Years Eve activities for the kids
Fun and simple ideas to keep your kids occupied until the midnight countdown!

Stock up on Operation Christmas Child goodies
Now's the time to stock up on all those sales!

What do you have to link up with this last Saturday Stumbles of 2011?!  Check out the guidelines then link up below:

Friday, December 23, 2011

Saturday Stumbles

Merry Christmas Eve! I hope you and your family have a wonderful Christmas season.

Here are a few last minute ideas to help make your Christmas weekend special:

Winter Snow Globe placecards

Last Minute Ways to Make Christmas Memories
Great and very simple ideas from my real life best friend, Oh Amanda!

Red Velvet Cheesecake Cake
I made this last year and got rave reviews about it!  It's just deliciousness!

Christmas Book Bingo
What a fun thing to do while waiting to eat or waiting to open presents!

Link up below!  Merry Christmas!

Friday, December 16, 2011

Saturday Stumbles

How is it Christmas next weekend and my tree doesn't have one present underneath it??!! Yikes!!

Santa Cereal
What a great and simple treat for Christmas time.

Free Christmas printables
Such a cute and cheap way to decorate.

What makes someone leave a website?
Oh, I wish more would read this! Great tips!

She didn't know she would have a family
Wow. Just wow. I can't imagine the joy this young lady feels. Please take the 5 min. to watch this.

Ok, now it's your turn to share with us all the fun stuff you've stumbled. Link up below!

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Saturday Stumbles

Let's get right to it!

The Christmas Conundrum
Wow! This one really makes you think about Christmas all together.

Red Velvet Cheesecake Cake
I made this last year...twice and I can't wait to make it for this year. Delish!

...and finally a shameless plug!
My Thirty One open house!
Need some Christmas gifts?  Shop online at my 31 open house for some cute bags and totes!  Anything ordered by Dec. 12 is guaranteed to be delivered by Christmas.

Link up below so we can all read what you found!

Saturday, December 03, 2011

Saturday Stumbles

Good morning stumblers!  How in the world did it become the first weekend of DECEMBER?!  My oh my!

We are in the homestretch as far as Christmas shopping and gifts are concerned.  Where are you?  Are you finished with all your shopping?  Somewhere in the middle?  Or have you not even thought about it yet??

Homemade snow globes
This is one I'm gonna file away to do with my niece and nephew. 

Scribble bows
Using your child's scribble scrabble as part of gift decoration.  What a special touch!

Mercy House Kenya
My sisterchicks and I always exchange gifts based on a theme.  This year we decided to do homemade and I love these homemade items made by the residents of the Mercy House, a maternity home for young pregnant girls in Kenya.

Black Friday prank

PLEASE tell me you've seen this video floating around on facebook.  It'll make ya laugh out loud!

Now I want to hear from you!  What did you stumble this week that you want to share with the rest of us!  Check out the guidelines then link up below:

Friday, November 25, 2011

Saturday Stumbles

Happy Thanksgiving!

I hope you had a wonderful time with your family.  My Thanksgiving was very unique.  I had been in Disney World with my family and we got home Wednesday night around midnight.  We had actually planned on traveling back Thanksgiving day, but decided to head on home.  My siblings did Thanksgiving with their in laws so we didn't really have anything planned.  I literally stayed in my pj's all day and did nothing.  Not.  A.  Thing.

Cinderella Castle at the Magic Kingdom, Walt D...Image via Wikipedia

Now, onto the stumbles...

Thanksgiving leftovers: English Cottage Pie
Need something to do with all the leftover turkey?  This dish looks amazing!

Christian Pick Up Lines
Hilarious.  Absolutely hilarious!  I can appreciate these as a single, christian girl and although I would roll my eyes if anyone used these on me, I would be smiling inside!

Truth in the Tinsel.
I know I already linked to this last week, but I don't want you to miss out on this!  It's a great (and easy) way to make the Christmas story come alive for your little ones.

Small Business Saturday
One of my dreams is to open up a cupcake shop.  It will always stay a dream because unless I win the lottery it's really out of the realm of possibility, but to be honest, it's just too much work for me!  But today is a day to support those that did scrape up the funds and have to work their tails off to support their dream.

Link up below!

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Disclosure: Affiliate link used.

Friday, November 18, 2011

Saturday Stumbles

Hey all! I'm excited to see what you all stumbled this week. We are less than a week away from Thanksgiving and and start of the Christmas season! I love it all...the busyness, the hectic schedule, the shopping...bring it on!

Grilled Cheese Rolls
These would go perfect with tomato soup which is one of my favorite meals.

Thanksgiving Day crafts
What a fun way to spend the day with little ones.

Truth in the Tinsel: An Advent Experience for Little Hands
My Sisterchick and real life best friend Amanda is releasing her first ebook on Black Friday! If you've got little ones and want the Christmas story to come alive for them, THIS is the ebook for you.

I'd love to hear from you! Check out the guidelines then link up below.

Monday, November 14, 2011


Congratulations to Kristen from Joyfully Thriving who won the Jessa Anderson CD!

You will really enjoy it!

Thanks to all who entered and go check out and see if Jessa is coming to your area!

Friday, November 11, 2011

Saturday Stumbles

It's mid November...and I'm putting up my Christmas decorations!!  Yep!  It's a lot sooner than I would normally put them up, but I've got Thanksgiving plans and want to go ahead and get them up.

Part of my Thanksgiving plans involve a long road trip and I'll be looking for some books to pass the time.  Here are few I've stumbled across this week!

Plan a Fabulous Party {without losing your mind}
My friend, Mary, just put out her first ebook!  Party planning is something I LOVE, but it can definitely be overwhelming if you let it.  Mary's got some great tips about to pull off those beautifully themed parties...without losing your mind!

Although I've never met Amy in real life, I know we'd be friends.  She has just launched her ebook Entangled.  It's her story and triumph of an emotional affair she had with a co-worker.  How brave is she!

 The End of Molasses Classes
I'm always looking for ways to improve in the classroom and Ron Clark is definitely one to get some tips from.

Your turn!  Link up below your stumbles from the week!

Monday, November 07, 2011

CD Giveaway!

If you're driving near me on any given day, you will almost always find me belting out anything from Sandi Patty to Katy Perry.

You see, being a singer was always my dream.  Albeit a distant dream...a dream nonetheless.  But the fact that I'm a 6th grade science teacher tells you how well that dream turned out.

So I just live vicariously through all the singers that DID make it.  And one of those is Jessa Anderson.

When I got Jessa's CD "Not Myself Anymore", I put it in and listened to the whole thing at once.  She has an honestly raw sound not over powered by synthesized cords and notes.  Mom to adorable toddler, Lorelei, and a full time singer/songwriter, Jessa knows a little something about a hectic life.

I got the chance to ask Jessa a few questions and I just know that we would be friends.  Really, I just want to drink Starbucks and go shopping with her!

1. The one song I find myself humming around the house is "Everybody Has Those Days".  I'm a single girl who's a teacher, so when I come home from one of "those days" I usually take a long bath and read a book.  As a mom of a young one, I'm sure you have "those days" frequently.  What do you to get through "those days"? 

I definitely have enough of those days on my own, but having a curious toddler certainly increases my daily chances of having something go laughably off-course! I do my best to remember that the most important thing in life is the "life" part, not the things that get broken or messes that are made. Taking a moment to find perspective helps me pass by the frustrating moments and try to see the humor in them instead of letting them ruin my day (and me ruining everyone else's with my bad attitude).

2. How much was music/songwriting a part of your upbringing?  Did you always know this is what you wanted to do? 

My family is not very musical, however, it was obvious from a very young age that I was. I always gravitated toward music and drama and my parents supported that wholeheartedly and found opportunities for me to be involved. I always felt like music was something I wanted to do for the rest of my life, whether that was professionally or in service to my church or somewhere in between!

3. What is the one thing you want people to walk away from your music knowing? 

That Jesus Christ is at the core of love and that his love extends to all who believe in him. That the love of God covers our lowest moments and our finest ones, and although we won't have a pain-free life as a believer in Christ, our life is made complete in him. I aim to address and be honest about every facet of life and point people back to Christ as the ultimate answer in every scenario.

4. "Not Myself Anymore" seems to be a song out of the pages of my life!  I hit repeat on it often!  What encouragement/advice would you give to someone (!) who's been through those relationships and waiting on the right one?  

"Not Myself Anymore" is almost a cautionary tale. I got married at 19, but I still had plenty of time to get my heart broken before I met my husband. I want people to value themselves (we find so many reasons we are valuable in scripture!) enough to be careful with their hearts. That looks different for different people, but at the end of the day, you give some of yourself away with relationships and those are times you can't recover. With women especially, I see so many who are strong and amazing but feel like not being in a relationship or waiting for the right one lessens their worth, which breaks my heart! Ladies (and gents!), you are a wonderful creation of God just how you are and HE has a plan for your life that is more amazing than you can imagine, even if it differs from the plan you might have.

5. I imagine your life is pretty hectic!  How do you balance your touring and performing with motherhood? 

I am so, so grateful that it all comes together in a unique way. My husband Jordan, who is beyond amazing, handles our booking and management and coordinates our travel, which is a job in itself. He also writes and performs with me, so we really work and raise Lorelei side by side. Having my family with me motivates me to continue on in a career that can be challenging, because there's nothing we love more, and we realize how truly blessed we are to enjoy this lifestyle as a family! I have grown quite used to having Jordan and Lorelei with me 98% of the time, although every so often I leave the house for a few hours to shop or meet up with a girlfriend and spend a little time alone! Aside from taking time individually and as a family to fill ourselves with God's word and keep our priorities in line spiritually, I love to relax and recharge by having something chocolate and browsing blogs or Pinterest (I'm addicted!) after Lorelei goes to bed. It's a busy time, but as a family we feel like we are exactly where God is using us best and we see his provision in every facet. I believe that working toward the dreams God has put in my heart, rather than for my own gain or against them out of fear, is a huge part in keeping things balanced and seeing God provide.

[Now for a few fun, mindless questions:]

6. Where do you like to shop for clothes? 

I am a serious bargain shopper, so I have the most fun checking out my favorite mall stores' sale racks and coming away with good deals. I love LOFT, Gap and J. Crew for pieces that are classic, but my favorite store is Anthropologie. The stores are so beautiful I always want to move in! I get super excited when I find a great deal at Anthropologie because it's a bit expensive.

7. If you had a whole day to yourself, what would you want to do? 

I literally can not picture that happening, haha! I would probably get a drink from Starbucks and do some shopping, spend some time at the piano (I find writing easiest when I'm completely alone), then do a bunch of sewing and craft projects at the house that I just don't have time for on a usual day. If I could, I would also arrange for my girlfriends back home in Michigan to also have a day to themselves so we could get together without feeling like we're leaving our kids and husbands to fend for themselves! I treasure the time I get with them because it's pretty infrequent, but they keep me sane.

8. You've been given the chance to perform with anyone you want to.  Who would it be? 

I love NeedtoBreathe and I think their lead singer is phenomenal, and they are so musically creative! That would be a dream collaboration, although I would be so nervous. I am not easily star struck or intimidated, but they are so cool! This isn't a performance, but I'd love to sit down and pick Jon Foreman's brain about songwriting and convince him to co-write with me, haha. He is a rare talent.

So now I want YOU to experience Jessa's music!  Her PR company provided me with a copy of her CD "Not Myself Anymore" to give away to you!  What a great stocking stuffer this would be for your best friend, young teen, or just anyone who enjoys good music!

It's simple to enter.  Just leave me a comment.  Yep, that's it!

It's not an extra entry, but I know she would appreciate you liking her Facebook page.

I'll draw a winner on Monday, November 14.

I was provided with a copy of Jessa's CD to give away, but the opinions are all mine.

Saturday, November 05, 2011

Saturday Stumbles

Today will be slim in the stumbles department.  School was crazy this week as we celebrated Red Ribbon Week (which I did win the door decorating contest!) and wrapped up celebrating MOYA (Month of the Young Adolescent).  Last night and today, I'm working at the Creative Ministries Solutions Puppet Festival (that's a mouthful!)  And finally, tomorrow I'm attending an Operation Christmas Child Shoebox party.  I'm excited because I'll be filling 5 in honor of each of my nieces and nephews.

Whew...that made me tired just typing all that!!

But I am still gonna make time to see what YOU stumbled this week!  So link up below!!

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Day 31: Halloween cupcakes

I can't believe it's day 31 and I actually managed to blog ALL 31 days!!  This was definitely trying at times and there were most certainly days where I wanted to just skip posting, but I managed to get past it and post something everyday. 

This was something I needed to do.  Not anything to do with blogging, but I needed this lesson in perseverance and willpower.  I have really struggled with that lately and it has come across in my weight and in my relationship with the Lord.

[Wow...this just got heavy for a blog series about baking!]

Now I'm motivated to get into gear!!

Ok, now onto the baking!  If you're in need of a last minute Halloween treat, these little cupcakes are easy peasy!

I used mini cupcakes, but you could also do full size cupcakes.  I iced it with a round tip making a tall peak.  If you don't have cake tips, you could also use a freezer bag.  For the eyes, I used MINI-chocolate chips found in the baking section at your local grocery store.

You don't need Ghostbusters for these little guys!  I'm sure they'll get gone in a hurry!

Thank you so much to those who followed me this month.  I do NOT claim to be an excellent baker.  I have just found a few tips that I want to share along with you.  Thank you to The Nester for hosting the 31 Day Challenge.

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Day 30: Crescent roll goodies

I'm deviating a little from cake decorating today to share this simple treat that you could also use with any chocolate Halloween candy you'll get this weekend.

Unroll a crescent roll and put candy on the large end. Roll up, pinch dough together to seal in the candy and cook according to package.

Imagine the deliciousness of using cut up Reeces Peanut Butter cups?

Friday, October 28, 2011

Saturday Stumbles

Are you all ready for Halloween weekend?  I'm going apple picking with the family so that should be fun.  Halloween seems to kick off the holiday season.  I was in Target today and they've already got Christmas stuff out!  I debated on getting a roll of Christmas wrapping paper, but I walked away.

Oven Fried Okra
I made this last week and it was delish!  Such a healthier alternative to regular fried okra.

Monster Pudding Cups
An easy, last minute Halloween treat

Halloween Lunch ideas
A fun way to spice up your kid's lunch

Link up below with your stumble worthy goodies!

Day 29: Variation to Hi Hat cupcakes

Hi hat cupcakes are something that I've always wanted to try, but they're a little intimidating to me because of melting the chocolate.  Chocolate can be tricky and it just sort of scares me a bit!

So I decided to try something a little easier...candy coating.  I've written about candy coating before to make chocolate toppers.

First melt the candy coating according to the package.  I also dyed mine with food coloring.  Next take your cupcake that's already been frosted.  You'll want to make sure to use a pastry bag to give it a nice, high peak.

Then turn your cupcake upside down and dip into the candy coating.
Slowly lift it out.  If you lift out too fast, this could happen:
Let set out to harden.
You could also decorate with sprinkles or other pieces of candy before it hardens.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Day 28: Disposable cupcake carrier

The problem with cupcake carriers is they're bulky and hard to store.  Another problem is that most of them only carry a dozen cupcakes.  Who only takes a dozen cupcakes to a party?!

This little treasure is on my Christmas list this year.  It holds 36 cupcakes...but talk about big & bulky!

When I came across this idea, I knew it was genius.  A disposable cupcake carrier!  Now, I can't take credit for this in any way, but I just have to share it with you:

All you do is cut X's in a gift box. It will hold about 8 cupcakes. Granted it won't hold as many as some of the other containers, but what a great fix that won't take up a lot of space in your pantry.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Day 27: Chocolate Dipped goodies

This is for all you non-bakers out there and is a quick and simple treat. 

Start with some snacks you probably already have in your pantry.

Then melt some candy coating according to the package and dip away.
Before it hardens you can embellish with sprinkles or other candies.  Leave sitting out on wax or parchment paper.
These would be great gifts or teacher treats. 


Congratulations go out to...

JAZMIN WICKHAM from A Pretty Rock

She won because she tweeted the contest.

Thank you to all entered and I encourage you to go check out Mia's Pizza and Eats!  This week they're featuring a loaded baked potato pizza!!  YUM!

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Day 26: Easy cake decorating ideas

Excused the randomness of this post, but I just wanted to share with you some ideas I've used over the years that are simple enough anyone could duplicate.

Cake topper
This is one of my favorite things to use as a cake topper especially for wedding cakes.  I like it because you can color it to match any color scheme and it can be a memento the couple can keep and use in their home.  It's simply a wooden letter (about 4" or so high) that you can get at any craft shop.  I just painted it and hot glued it to a dowel rod.

 This was for my nephew's first birthday and the "1" could still be used as a memento.

Names on cake
I was really happy with the way this turned out.  My family spent a weekend at the lake with 2 other families so I made a cake for us and I decorated it with all of our names.  The names are written in cursive around the cake.  Granted I don't have the neatest cake cursive writing, but I just love how you have to do a double-take to really see the names.

Chocolate mosaic
I used this for a friend's groom cake.  It's chocolate that I broke into pieces and just stuck to the side with frosting.  I also added chocolate shavings to the top.
What about you?  Do you have any go-to cake decorating tips?  I'd love to hear 'em!

Day 25: Rainbow/Tye Dye cake

This is a fun trick that would work great for a tye-dye party, 60's-groovy party or even a rainbow or St. Patrick's Day party.

Divide your batter into as many different colors as you're going to use.  I used 4.

Dye each container a different color using regular old food dye.
Then you just pour one container at a time into a prepared pan.  There's no wrong way to do this!

Finally just bake according to the package.

It may look a little dull when it comes out of the oven, but this part will be covered in icing.  The colors inside are beautiful!  Here I cut off the domed top.

Can you imagine what a fun surprise it would be to cut into this cake?!  Groovy, baby!

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Day 24: Monochromatic

Another easy go-to trick is to use a monochromatic color scheme.  Here I used a cupcake so the liner, batter, icing, and embellishments (which are M&M's) are all the same color.

Here are some other examples I've found on Pinterest:

Source: None via Staci on Pinterest

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Day 23: Cupcake toppers

This is one of my go-to decorating tricks. It's an easy way to really personalize your treats.

These were some I made for my cousin's wedding shower.  I simply made the monograms on my computer, used a circle punch to get them perfectly rounded and then just hot glued toothpicks to the back.
I also used them for a birthday party.
I made the cupcakes, but not the toppers.  These were made out of playing cards. 

The nice thing about using a cupcake topper is that it doesn't really matter what your frosting looks like because the topper is the star.  Yeah, you can buy the plastic-y type ones from the store, but making your own really adds a personal touch.

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